New Zealand's the land of stunning natural beauty, action-packed activities & laid back culture. Kick off this trip in the Bay of Islands & try some sand dune surfing! In the underground caves of Waitomo experience blackwater rafting before hitting Rotorua to try the Zorb or skyline gondola & end the day relaxing in a Polynesian thermal pool. Take a sunset cruise on Lake Taupo, brave the Rock'n Ropes course & head to the land of "The Lord of the Rings", Wellington (be sure to quad bike through the bush!)
|Accommodations:|| Resort, Lodge, Hotel
as per itinerary
|Meals:|| Dinner, Breakfast, Breakfast, Dinner
as per itinerary
|Sightseeing:||North Island, including Auckland, Bay of Islands, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo & Wellington|
|Transportation:||Modern, air-conditioned coach|
Fly over the international date line on your way to New Zealand.
Kia Ora! Meet up with your Contiki Crew in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Surrounded by volcanoes, islands and a stunning harbour, you’ll soon understand why this is the “City of Sails” and was once home to the America’s Cup. This morning we’ll see the Sky Tower downtown, before crossing the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. There are full-blown vistas of the harbour, Rangitoto, and other neighbouring volcanic islands on the way. With a stop at Parry Kauri Park, there’s time to walk through this famous reserve and see many of New Zealand’s ancient Kauri (a native tree). Some of the Kauri are 50ms high and over 1000 years old. The final stop today is the small coastal town of Paihia. It’s the gateway to the Bay of Islands, one of New Zealand’s photogenic natural playgrounds. Your Tour Manager will show you the colonial style Treaty House at Waitangi. This is where modern-era New Zealand was born when the British Crown and Maori signed a treaty in 1840. You’ll also find out about local Maori culture as you check out the Nga Puhi tribal lands. Tonight, get to know the other Contiki travellers, Tour Manager and Driver over a typical ‘Kiwi’ dinner – a BBQ – where you can eat outdoors under the night sky if the weather is good. After dinner, head out to a local music venue in Paihia with the group.
With a full free day here, you’ll really get to enjoy the laid-back, natural beauty of the Bay of Islands. Chill out, or choose from loads of activities on offer here. There’s a catamaran cruise where you can stop off at remote islands, swim and feast on a tasty BBQ lunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some dolphins. Or you could use your free time to head off with some friends to learn about New Zealand’s settler history. Jump on a ferry out to New Zealand’s former capital, the pretty township of Russell. Grab an ice-cream, relax in its cute cafes and walk past some of the town’s historic cottages. We also offer you the option of a day trip to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s most northern point where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean merge. Our Local Guide can tell you all about the Maori beliefs associated with this site. Then it’s off to the sand dunes of Ninety Mile beach and a drive through the Northland Region. Lastly, for the adrenaline-junkies, there’s a chance to go parasailing - perfect for getting views of the awesome surrounding bay scenery
Southbound, we stop in Auckland for a lunch, before driving on through the lush farmlands of Waikato – an area that produces many of New Zealand’s best rugby players for the All Blacks. Next up is Waitomo and the Waitomo Caves. Famous for their incredible limestone formations and glow-worms, the caves are a stunning subterranean world. You’ll see the Glow-worm Grotto, where the cave roof is covered with twinkling insects. For adventure, you can head deeper into the caves in an optional activity and see them either on foot or by tubing down an underground river. Tonight, it’s a pizza dinner and a visit to a typical country pub. Kick back with your new friends and some of the locals. Maybe try out the local beer – it’s good!
This morning, we stop at the Agrodome farm show for an interactive introduction into farming and agriculture, which is New Zealand’s main industry. You’ll see sheep-shearing and watch an impressive sheepdog demo. These dogs are highly-trained and skilled at controlling livestock. Later, we pull into Rotorua, famous for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and ‘interesting’ sulphur smell. For some crazy ‘Kiwi ingenuity’, try an optional called zorbing. It’s an activity where you get inside a huge plastic ball and roll down a 200m hill, either by yourself or with a friend. Rotorua is an important hub of Maori culture. To recognise this, we have an optional authentic cultural experience, complete with a fantastic Maori hangi and traditional dance concert. Some of the foods you can try from the hangi are sweet potato and chicken cooked on hot rocks in an underground pit - just as they have been for centuries. Listen to stories, songs and chants while learning about ancient Maori mythology and beliefs.
On the way to Taupo, a visit to the raging Huka Falls will impress. Tonnes of water surge over these falls at a rate of 220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) per second. It’s only a short drive today to the popular low-key resort town of Taupo. Here, there’s some of the best trout fishing in the country and some of the most amazing long-distance views of Tongariro National Park’s three volcanic peaks. Cap off your day with our optional dinner cruise out on New Zealand’s largest lake – Taupo. You can have a go at fishing and after dinner, karaoke! Later, back on land, play some pool at one of Taupo’s lakeside bars.
Spot the dramatic volcanic landscapes that were used as backdrops in the Lord of the Rings today, when we drive past World Heritage listed Tongariro National Park. The park is also home to the still active volcano, Mt Ruapehu, which doubles as NZ’s biggest ski field. Next stop – the capital city of Wellington. It’s the country’s political centre and cultural core with funky shops, fringe festivals, galleries, as well as a huge amount of cool cafes and bars. The peak of Mt Victoria gives an amazing overview of the windy city. Take in the sweeping views of pretty beaches, narrow streets, and weather worn Victorian houses. Our tour ends this afternoon and it’s time to say goodbye to your new friends and Contiki crew.
Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning after breakfast.
All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!